Blueprint for LA Lakers to Reintegrate Pau Gasol into New-Look Attack

Pau Gasol will soon be rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers lineup, and Mike D’Antoni will have to find ways to make him a productive player.

Gasol was a starter for most of the season, but Steve Nash's return from his leg injury complicated the Lakers’ rotation a little.

Mike D’Antoni’s offense relies on timing, spacing and long-range shooting. With Gasol playing alongside Dwight Howard in the starting lineup, it compressed the court offensively.

The Spaniard has three-point range but clearly isn’t a shooting assassin. Consequently, camping him out on the perimeter was completely counterproductive. His defender sagged into the lane and smothered Howard when he cut hard to the rim in pick-and-rolls.

Also, in the few post-up opportunities Howard was afforded, he often had to worry about Gasol’s defender helping off him to thwart his attempts.

Statistically, the Laker offense was fine. But the eye test said otherwise.

According to’s advanced stats tool, the Lakers scored 105 points per 100 possessions with Gasol on the floor and 105.6 points per 100 possessions with him off it.

The difference is marginal but not inconsequential.

Whenever the shot clock was near expiration, the Lakers struggled to produce any high-percentage shots. Granted, these situations rarely yield great looks, but there are still ways for an offense to score.

Quick pick-and-rolls late in the shot clock usually result in a switching defense, which allows the perimeter player to blow by the bigger defender. In the case of the Purple and Gold, the ball-handler is usually Kobe Bryant.

That’s a matchup D’Antoni will take just about every single time.

But with Gasol on the floor next to Howard, opponents simply double-team Bryant in this scenario because they have no fear whatsoever of getting be...

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